Six years after he was first sacked by RCS Media Group, former Giro d’Italia director Michele Acquarone was cleared of fraud charges, several news agencies reported on Friday.
Acquarone and several others were cleared of charges, while RCS accountant Laura Bertinotti was given an eight-year sentence for misappropriation of funds. Twenty-two million Canadian dollars worth of funds was drained from RCS accounts over 11 years.
Acquarone took over as Giro director from Angelo Zomegnan after the problem-plagued 2011 Giro. He maintained his innocence and claimed that his signatures and initials on documents that drained the funds were falsified.
Now working for D-Share, a digital media company, Acquarone reacted to the news on Twitter with “Better late than never. A small joy after six years of huge pain. Thanks to everyone who has supported me over the last few years.”
Meglio tardi che mai. Una piccola gioia dopo sei anni di grande dolore. Un abbraccio a tutti coloro che mi sono stati vicino in questi anni. https://t.co/S5IPNV37N7.
— Michele Acquarone (@micacquarone) September 19, 2019
Only two Giros ran with Acquarone as race director: Ryder Hesjedal’s victory in 2012 and Vincenzo Nibali’s first title in 2013. He was also in charge when Alberto Contador’s 2011 pink jersey was taken from him for a Clenbuterol positive and given to Michele Scarponi. Mauro Vegni, who shared the position with Acquarone, is the current race director.